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Police Body-Cam's - Be Careful What You Wish For

Politics / Police State Mar 25, 2017 - 02:36 AM GMT

By: John_Rubino

Politics

After the recent deluge of videos showing police abusing and sometimes flat-out murdering more-or-less innocent citizens, the willingness of a growing number of cities to equip officers with video cameras has been hailed as a victory by civil libertarians.

But what if those cameras also extend the surveillance network exponentially? In the future, if a policeman is facing you, he might be filming you. From there, all it will take is real-time facial recognition technology, and Big Brother will be walking the streets with eyes wide open.


Well, ask and you shall receive:

Real-time face recognition threatens to turn cops’ body cameras into surveillance machines

(Intercept) – LAST YEAR, A RUSSIAN startup announced that it could scan the faces of people passing by Moscow’s thousands of CCTV cameras and pick out wanted criminals or missing persons. Unlike much face recognition technology — which runs stills from videos or photographs after the fact — NTechLab’s FindFace algorithm has achieved a feat that once only seemed possible in the science fictional universe of “Minority Report”: It can determine not just who someone is, but where they’ve been, where they’re going, and whether they have an outstanding warrant, immigration detainer, or unpaid traffic ticket.

For years, the development of real-time face recognition has been hampered by poor video resolution, the angles of bodies in motion, and limited computing power. But as systems begin to transcend these technical barriers, they are also outpacing the development of policies to constrain them. Civil liberties advocates fear that the rise of real-time face recognition alongside the growing number of police body cameras creates the conditions for a perfect storm of mass surveillance.

“The main concern is that we’re already pretty far along in terms of having this real-time technology, and we already have the cameras,” said Jake Laperruque, a fellow at the Constitution Project. “These cameras are small, hard to notice, and all over the place. That’s a pretty lethal combination for privacy unless we have reasonable rules on how they can be used together.”
This imminent reality has led several civil liberties groups to call on police departments and legislators to implement clear policies on camera footage retention, biometrics, and privacy. On Wednesday morning, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on law enforcement’s use of facial recognition technology, where advocates emphasized the dangers of allowing advancements in real-time recognition to broaden surveillance powers. As Alvaro Bedoya, executive director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law, told Congress, pairing the technology with body cameras, in particular, “will redefine the nature of public spaces.”

The integration of real-time face recognition with body-worn cameras is further along than lawmakers and citizens realize. A recent Justice Department-funded survey conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that at least nine out of 38 manufacturers of body cameras currently have facial recognition capacities or have built in an option for such technology to be used later.

Taser, which leads the market for body cameras, recently acquired two startups that will allow it to run video analytics on the footage the cameras collect, and Taser’s CEO has repeatedly emphasized the development of real-time applications, such as scanning videos for faces, objects, and suspicious activity. A spokesperson for NTechLab, which has pilot projects in 20 countries including the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and Turkey, told The Intercept that its high-performing algorithm is already compatible with body cameras.

Some thoughts
The above article has some chillingly surreal quotes, including: “real-time face recognition is just a software update away”; “everybody walking past a given officer on his patrol could be subject to a perpetual line-up,” and “more than three-quarters of the population had outstanding warrants.” It’s hard to overstate just how strange this emerging world of hyper-surveillance might be.

This genie will never be forced back into the lamp. Camera resolution will only improve, and face recognition alogrythms will only grow more accurate. So if it’s not the police, it will be the security camera at 7-11 or the traffic cam at the stoplight on the way home. The resulting tidal wave of data will be matched by the exponentially rising competence of tomorrow’s artificial intelligences and expanding capacity of data storage centers. Toss in algorithms that can lip read and our expectation of privacy disappears the minute we walk out the door.

Asking governments to implement controls on what data is saved and how it’s analyzed is kind of naive, when you think about it. Of course the FBI, CIA, NSA, and local police agencies will quickly agree to whatever we ask – and will then do whatever they want in the privacy of their own labs.

Balanced against this emerging police state will be the increasing ease with which whistleblowers can expose abuses. See In The Police-State-Versus-Freedom Arms Race, Freedom Seems To Be Winning.

Still, it’s hard not to see this latest breakthrough as a win for the bad guys.

By John Rubino

dollarcollapse.com

Copyright 2017 © John Rubino - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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